Maryland Appeals Attorney
Did The Court Rule Against You?
Fight Back And File An Appeal.
If you’ve already taken your case to a trial court or administrative agency and believe the final decision made was legally wrong, you may have a right to appeal. Now is not the time to give up. Your fight is not over — it’s just beginning!
Through the appeals process, you can ask a higher court, known as an “appellate” court to review and reverse the ruling made in the lower court.
This could include:
- overturning a criminal conviction
- getting a money judgment against you dismissed
- recovering benefits after your claim was denied
In order to win on appeal in Maryland, it must be proven that a legal error was made in trial court.
This is not an easy task and requires the skill of a seasoned attorney who specializes in appellate law and is intimately familiar with the appellate court system in the state.
Effective Appellate Advocacy
Appellate Attorney, J. Christopher Llinas has spent nearly 20 years helping clients pursue and defend appeals in criminal, civil, and administrative cases as well as petition writs of certiorari in the state’s appellate courts, including
- the Court of Appeals of Maryland (the state’s highest court of appeals);
- the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (the state’s intermediate court of appeals); and
- in certain instances, the Circuit Courts of Maryland.
In an appeal, these courts review the decisions and actions of a trial court (District or Circuit Court) and decide whether the trial judge or jury properly followed the law and legal precedent.
Attorney Llinas fully understands the nuances and varying rules of each of the Appellate Divisions and is ready to apply his knowledge and experience towards building you a winning case.
His approach to appeals involves meticulously analyzing the trial transcript, conducting extensive legal research, and crafting compelling briefs and oral arguments that persuades judges to rule in your favor.
If you believe the decision reached in your case was unjust, call (443) 235-5793 J. Christopher Llinas, Attorney at Law for a Free, no obligation consultation.
In most cases, you only have 30 days from the date the judgment was rendered to file a Notice of Appeal, so give us a call today!
Attorney Llinas will carefully evaluate your case to determine if there are grounds to appeal or petition writs of certiorari.
What Is The Difference Between Trials And Appeals?
If you choose to pursue an appeal, it’s important to understand how the appeals process will differ from what you experienced at trial.
During your trial, legal arguments were made on your behalf in an attempt to persuade a jury — also referred to as a “fact finder” — to rule in your favor.
Physical evidence was presented, witnesses were called for testimony, and various exhibits were shown. The jury weighed the evidence of the case and made a judgment based on the facts, the law and the legal precedent.
In an appellate court, the facts of your case cannot be re-argued, nor can new evidence be submitted or new testimony be heard. Rather, you have to stick to whatever is “on the record” from the trial court.
The appellate court is only interested in determining:
- if a procedural or constitutional error was made in the lower court; and
- whether or not that error impacted the outcome of your case.
In other words, was the law applied correctly and fairly when your case was originally tried?
Preparing A Strong Appellate Brief
As your appellate attorney, my job will be to write a comprehensive appellate brief that
follows the strict Rules of Court and outlines the reasons why the trial court’s judgment is wrong.
I will carefully analyze the existing trial transcript and conduct extensive research to frame the strongest and most compelling argument possible.
Errors I may cite in a brief could include:
- incorrect ruling on admissibility of evidence
- incorrect applications of law
- legal errors made by judge or prosecution
- insufficient evidence to uphold conviction or judgment
- improper jury instructions
The appellate brief is then submitted to a panel of judges for review. After the submission, there will be an opportunity for me to present an oral argument to the panel.
At this juncture, I will weave in the facts from the record that best supports why the decision of the lower court was unjust. Months after the oral argument, the court will issue a written opinion on your case.
Understanding Maryland’s Court Process
The Maryland court system has four levels: two trial courts and two appellate courts.
Attorney Llinas can provide assistance with:
- Appeals from District Court to Circuit Court
- Appeals from Circuit Court to Courts of Special Appeal
- Appeals from Court of Special Appeal to Court of Appeal
- Appeals from administrative agencies
When the courts hear an appeal, they will either:
- reverse the initial judgment
- remand the case for a new trial
- modify the judgment in light of the applicable law, or
- affirm the prior judgment
There is one District Court with branches in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.
This court handles:
- traffic violations
- certain felony crimes
- domestic violence and peace order petitions
- landlord-tenant disputes
- small claims of $5,000 or less
- and other civil cases involving claims up to $30,000.
A case in the District Court is tried before a judge only; there are no jury trials. If you are unhappy with a judgment in the District Court, it can be appealed to the Circuit Court.
Each county and Baltimore city has a circuit court which handles cases of a more serious nature, including:
- criminal cases
- major civil cases
- juvenile cases
- family law cases
Circuit courts will review cases appealed from the District Court as well as some decisions from various state and/or local agencies. Some cases are tried before a jury and some are tried by a judge alone.
Court of Special Appeals
The Court of Special Appeals is Maryland’s intermediate court and is located in Annapolis.
The Court will consider and review:
- other actions of the circuit court
and decide whether the court’s decision should be affirmed, reversed or modified.
Generally, a panel of three judges will hear these appeals, although sometimes appeals can be heard “en banc,” meaning all 13 of the sitting judges will hear the appeal.
If you lose your appeal with the Court of Special Appeals, you can file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Court of Appeals to request a judicial review.
If the Court of Appeals feels there is an issue in your case that needs to be given further consideration or analysis, it will issue a writ of certiorari.
Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals is the highest tribunal in Maryland and is located in Annapolis. The Court will sometimes review cases from the Court of Special Appeals and from certain district court decisions, but most of the cases are heard exclusively by writ of certiorari.
The Court of Appeals uses a writ to review cases at its discretion. The only Court that can overturn a ruling from the Court of Appeals is the Supreme Court of the U.S.
Have You Been Convicted And Sentenced For A Crime And Want To Appeal?
If you have been convicted of a crime, you may be able to overturn your conviction or lessen your sentencing with an appeal. As a criminal defendant you have the right to one appeal but you can ask the Maryland Court of Appeals to hear a second level of appeal if necessary.
Appeal to the Circuit Court and Get A New Trial
If your first trial was in the District Court and you lost, you can appeal and get a completely new trial in the Circuit Court. An appeal will offer the opportunity to file new motions, call different witnesses, demand a jury and get new rulings on evidence.
Reduce Your Sentence By Filing A Motion of Reconsideration
If you decide not to appeal your conviction but want to try to get your sentence reduced, you can file a motion for reconsideration asking the judge to reconsider your sentence within 90 days.
You also have the option of waiting to seek reconsideration until after you have served a portion of your sentence. This may give you a better chance of a lesser sentence for good behavior.
Appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals
If your first trial was in the Circuit Court and you lost, you can appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
At this level, you will not be granted a new trial, rather the Court will review what happened at the Circuit Court to see if any errors were made that led to an unfair conviction.
However, if it is discovered that your trial was erroneous in some way you may be granted a new trial. In some cases, if it is determined that the evidence presented in the Circuit Court was insufficient to convict you the first time, you may be acquitted.
Appeal to the Maryland Court of Appeals
If you lose in both the District and Circuit Court, or if you lose both in the Circuit Court and the Court of Special Appeals, you can appeal to the highest court in Maryland — the Maryland Court of Appeals.
The Court will review what happened in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, and if your trial produced an error, you will receive another trial. If you lose the new trial, you can appeal the loss.
This process will continue until you either win a trial, decide not to appeal, or lose at each level of appeal available.
Was Your Claim Denied By A State Agency? File An Administrative Appeal
In Maryland, there are certain Administrative Agencies that have similar authority to
courts but are not part of the state’s judiciary system. If you feel your claim was wrongfully denied by a state agency, you have the right to petition for an Administrative Hearing.
Administrative law usually relates to the issuance, suspension, or revocation of some type of government issued license or benefit.
Examples of denied claims may include:
- workers’ compensation claim
- unemployment insurance benefits
- tax refund or tax license claim
- suspension of driver’s license
You may request a hearing 30 days after you receive a denial letter. At a hearing, you can present your argument in favor of receiving benefits to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who will render a decision or administrative order.
The agency from which the case arose will then review the ALJ’s order and decide to either accept, reject of modify the decision. If the final administration decision is unfavorable, you can file a motion for a rehearing or another review of the decision.
If the agency denies your motion or if the you remain dissatisfied with the agency’s decision at the conclusion of the rehearing/review process, you can file an appeal for a judicial review with the Maryland Superior Court.
Do You Need an Ocean City Appeals Attorney?
Contact the J. Christopher Llinas today by calling (443) 235-5793 or (443) 235-5793.